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Voters weigh in on the page side party, online sales taxes | Policy

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CLAYTON — Once and for all, St. Louis County voters have said they don’t want the executive county to work overtime, passing a measure that would add teeth to an existing charter clause that could force Sam Page County to stop working part-time as an anesthesiologist.

Proposition B follows a long-running battle between Page and critics in St. Louis County Council who accused him of violating the charter by continuing to serve as a physician, and questioning the amount of time he spends in his medical practice. Page dismissed the investigation as political theater, though he refused to disclose a detailed schedule or salary, and kept his work up to one weekend a month and an “occasional” four-hour shift on weekdays.

The measure, which passed with more than 60% of the vote, states that the county executive must lose his position if he holds another job or works as a contractor.

Jane Docker, who is challenging Page in the August Democratic primary, called the results a “referendum on Sam Page” and said voters “don’t want a part-time CEO in the county.” She called Page to quit his secondary job “immediately”.

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Another amendment to the St. Louis County charter also won the rein in the county’s executive branch by a wide margin. Proposition A would require that the county’s political appointees be included in his office’s budget — a recommendation in a state scrutiny issued in 2020 by Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway. For years, county executives included the salaries of many of their employees in other departments’ budgets, concealing the true scope and cost of their employees.

Those polling procedures are two of the most notable polling routines that appeared on ballot papers across the region on Tuesday.

Voters also denied leasing a portion of Queenie Park to Raintree to operate a private school.

Voters resist online sales tax

More than 40 municipalities in the area—plus St. Louis County—have had a use tax on the ballot allowing sales tax to be collected on online purchases from out-of-state sellers. Use taxes will reverse sales tax rates and is the latest step in a years-long effort to subject internet merchants to the same sales taxes as traditional stores.

The case hit the polls this year after the Missouri legislature passed a state law — one of the last in the country to do so — following a 2018 US Supreme Court ruling that clears the way for local sales tax collection.

But voters in many places rejected tax passes, including those in St. Louis County, where they received just 41% of the vote.

Webster Groves, Dellwood, Bellerive Acres, Hanley Hills, Florissant and Shrewsbury were among the only municipalities where the sales tax was passed online.

public safety taxes

A proposed sales tax for the University City Fire and Pensions Department has been among the most controversial municipal ballot issues, with organized support for and against.

There voters rejected the fire department tax.

On the other hand, a similar quarter-cent fire protection sales tax in Crestwood won the support of voters.

In Shrewsbury, after several quarters of deficit spending, an additional property tax of up to $1 for every $100 of assessed value in property taxes was approved. The new tax would allow the suburb to double its current property tax rate of 56 cents for every $100 of assessed value.

Voters in the small southern county of Bella Villa, which has a population of 757, voted against a property tax of $1 per $100, and assessment officials said it would preserve city services.

The Bella Villa is 83 acres surrounded by the unincorporated St. Louis County that is guarded by the St. Louis County Police. More than half of the city’s $500,000 budget goes to police protection. November’s attempt to pass the city’s first estate tax with one vote failed.

St. Charles County voters reauthorized the half-year road sales tax for another decade. The sales tax for parks in Jefferson County failed by a large margin. The property tax increases for parks and pools appear to have passed in Sainte-Anne but fell short of the four-sevenths required in Floresin.

District voters continued to provide strong support for their fire protection districts, with property tax increases in Afton, Melville and the Northern District and bond issuance in the Metro West Fire Protection District.

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